How to Pick a Nursing College near Wessington Springs South Dakota
Finding the best nursing program near Wessington Springs SD may feel like a complex endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Regretably, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your house is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to pick a nursing school. There are a number of essential additional considerations to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different Wessington Springs SD medical settings, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Wessington Springs SD area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by South Dakota community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at South Dakota colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the South Dakota board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more popular way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend school for some Wessington Springs SD students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges in the Wessington Springs SD area and throughout South Dakota and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans in Wessington Springs SD, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for South Dakota or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, check with the South Dakota school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Wessington Springs SD healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Wessington Springs SD healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Wessington Springs SD hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
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Wessington Springs, South Dakota
The Wessington Springs townsite was founded in 1880 and platted in 1882, early in the era of agricultural settlement in the region. The town's boom era began in 1903, when a branch line of the Milwaukee Road railroad was constructed into the town from the east.
The town was the home of Wessington Springs College, an institution of higher learning that existed from 1887 until 1968. There is a baseball field in town that hosts an amateur baseball team named the Wessington Springs Owls
On June 18, 2014 the town of Wessington Springs was hit by a tornado. At approximately 7:45 PM the tornado tore through the heart of Wessington Springs and 50+ homes were destroyed, and 77 people were left homeless. Many other buildings and properties were damaged significantly. No fatalities were reported but several injuries were sustained. The town's emergency sirens gave residents significant advance notice to the threat, allowing residents to flee to the town's fallout shelter avoiding injury and death. The town was on lockdown for several hours to prevent further injuries and blockages.
Enroll in the Right RN Degree near Wessington Springs SD
Selecting the right registered nursing degree program is potentially the most important step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are many variables that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed within this article, it is essential that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Wessington Springs SD.
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